At a semi-annual Wadena County Historical Society meeting, Clarence Horsager was invited to tell his storied personal history.
Horsager has lived a long life that's taken him all over the country while experiencing some of the most visceral decades of United States history.
The interview was conducted by his son Chuck. Additionally, the interview was recorded on video. Lights and cameras filled the stage floor at Maasconi's Char & Bar in Verndale, all eyes were on Horsager. A primary component of this oral history program was to give members of the historical society a chance to see how a historical interview is orchestrated.
In the beginning, his family came to Minnapolis from Norway. Soon the arid city air would take its toll on the family, his grandfather specifically. According to Horsager, a doctor claimed if his grandfather didn't leave the city, he would die. So the family made there way to the plains of North Dakota. Family and farming became their main focus. Eventually his family and cousins would disburse. This prompted Horsager to move back to Minnesota.
Horsager told tales of potato picking, a memory he appears to hold very dear. During a tangential moment during the interview he explained that he often skipped school to pick potatoes. Doing this allowed him to save money and buy things like a class ring, a detail the crowd found very amusing.
Farming and travel were central to his existence. Horsager enjoyed chasing opportunities and wouldn't hesitate to hit the road to make some money. Throughout the course of his life he hitchhiked from coast to coast. One particular adventure involved Horsager hitchhiking to the coast to work on a fishing boat, but when he arrived, he found the fishermen on strike. Instead, he found a job picking apples.
Horsager would go on to serve during the Korean War and have a farm of his very own. However, when Horsager gets an idea in his head, he chases it. Out of nowhere he decided to go to college. So he sold the farm and went to class.
Horsager had run ins with hippies, worked on irrigation projects, traveled extensively, and was a teacher for many years. Even considering all of his achievements, meeting his wife Mary is the clear highlight of his life.
"Greatest thing that happened to me," said Horsager.
There meeting was comical to say the least. Horsager was working as an auctioneer during a box social, a social event where people would bid on a date with a young lady and the meal contained in a box. Mary was on the auction block, seeing that, Horsager jumped down and started bidding. The crowd saw this and made him pay dearly for his coveted date with the future Mrs. Horsager.
Horsager is a teacher, traveler, and historian. The interview allowed the audience to hear local history from a man that experienced it first hand. The entire experience was designed to show the amount of effort that goes into properly archiving history.